Fourteen years, seven albums later, the always ambitious trio returns with their most indulgent release yet, 23. Somehow, the band has criminally managed to fall under the radar throughout their career, but now it seems they’ve managed to come out on top. This is easily their most accessible record, finally capturing the long-overdue attention of the masses. It’s one of those albums that seems to get better with each listen, rich in texture and substance. It possesses the necessary simplicity for a more superficial casual listening as well as the depth and complexity of a cerebral headphone masterpiece. Any way you slice it, 23 is most definitely meant to be listened to at high volume, bringing attention to all of its intricate subtleties.

Ever since their fateful meeting at a New York City restaurant in ‘93, Japanese born Kazu Makino, and Italian twin brothers, Amedeo and Simone Pace, have been making some of the most profoundly innovative music around. They constantly strive to reinvent themselves and continue to venture into unchartered territories. Their dynamic aesthetic from album to album may seem calculated, but “everything happens naturally,” says Amedeo. “There’s a moment when it’s kind of out of our control. It’s more about what the songs need and it’s not like we meditate on what direction we want to go into and how we want to change the sound. We follow our instincts. A lot has to do with how the song adapts to the instruments and vice versa.” As distinctive as their latest release may be, what they do consistently maintain from Misery Is a Butterfly and previous records is their emotionally-wrenching quality. “Our goal has always been to make the best album ever,” reflects Pace. “To just capture the song the right way and create a strong feeling throughout the record,” he adds.

As many may already know, tuning your ear to any Blonde Redhead album is a deeply personal and introspective experience, simultaneously reflecting both a melancholic and rejuvenating tone. Deciding to self-produce 23 made for both a challenging yet rewarding outcome. “On this album we went a little bit beyond the other albums as far as creating atmosphere by using different keyboards and stuff we wanted to try. We just went ahead and put stuff down, see how it goes and not worry about anything like whether we might use it or not.” The band also feels this album was more experimental than their previous, especially with the arrangements and vocals. Amedeo has a large vocal presence, which provides a striking contrast to Kazu‘s haunting melodies. “What was great about it this time is that I did my vocals by myself in a room with Pro Tools, which I had never done before. I have always had to work with an engineer. It was hard for me to open up when somebody else was there. But being alone just gives you a whole different perspective,” says Amedeo.

With their natural flair for creating cinematic pop-noir soundscapes, scoring a film seems like an ideal next step, following in the footsteps of one of their major inspirations, Ennio Morricone. “I often think that it would be amazing for us to write a movie soundtrack. I hope it happens one day,” Amedeo declares. “I always think that maybe I should just do an album that’s a soundtrack and call it Soundtrack. And maybe someone will use it for a movie.” Any takers?
–Clint Stewart